Author Archives: Simon Hughes MP

Simon Hughes writes… Counter-terrorism bill – the Liberal Democrats are on the right track

The rise of the so-called Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is one of the most serious and dangerous issues we have had to face since we came into Government. Whatever we call this organisation – IS, ISIL or Da’ish – we can’t ignore their brutal activity. The graphic and disturbing images of violence coming from Syria and Iraq show the barbaric way this extremist group has perverted the Muslim faith.

We also need to face up to the reality that this group has publicly announced its desire to bring its murderous ideology to the streets of Britain. The murder of Drummer Lee Rigby is a stark example of the potential threat from extremist ideologues. It is estimated that around 500 British citizens have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIL and other military groups. Around half have returned and others will continue to do so. This presents a new and unique challenge to the UK security services and police, and earlier this year the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, run by MI5, raised the threat level from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’. This means that an attack in the UK by violent extremists is highly likely.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 23 Comments

Simon Hughes MP writes… We need to take Bill Gates’ advice on aid and fight against Malaria

Last Monday evening I was privileged to attend a Bill Gates lecture in the House of Lords.

Bill Gates made a compelling case for the use of aid to make a real and tangible difference to the world’s poorest people. Rightly, the UK has a long and proud tradition of doing this, but we can do so much more.

There is no better case study for this than Malaria – one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases and which kills a child every minute of every day. That’s despite the fact that the cause is preventable and costs less than the price of a cup of tea to treat.

My family take a particular interest in this issue after losing our oldest brother Richard to Malaria contracted in Kenya during his honeymoon some years ago.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 4 Comments

Simon Hughes MP writes…My vote on the Same Sex Marriage Bill

I want to say a few personal words to my party friends and colleagues, straight and gay, after this week’s debates and votes on the same-sex marriage bill.

I voted for the second reading of the bill but abstained at third reading. I tried to make clear my reasons in my three speeches on the bill in February and this week. Please read them carefully. Some of you may be pleased or relieved that some Liberal Democrat MPs, including me, voted for amendments and against third reading or abstained on third reading. You may share our beliefs on this issue or …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 111 Comments

Simon Hughes writes… Educational Maintenance Allowance: a grown-up replacement

One of the first tasks which the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minster gave me when they appointed me to the job of Advocate for Access to Education was to advise on the replacement for the Educational Maintenance Allowance. Since then I have travelled across the country to listen to young adults in school and further education colleges about how they think students should be supported in education.

The overriding concern that students across the country had was travel. They wanted to know that the money was there to pay for their travel to school or college.

Other important things that students …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 8 Comments

Simon Hughes writes… Why Vote Yes: Believe in better democracy

On May 5th our country will have an historic opportunity.

For the first time the people of Britain will have the choice as to how they will elect their Members of Parliament.

Liberal Democrats must take an active role in this campaign, as we should with every opportunity to make our democracy more representative.

Our society and our politics have moved on from the two-party system that existed 60 years ago, when over 9 out of 10 of the electorate voted for one of the two largest parties. Today there is more real political choice and many more people choose to avail …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 28 Comments

Simon Hughes writes… Why I’ve taken up a government post

There are many good and legitimate arguments to be had about tuition fees and whether they are the best way to fund our higher education system. These include the big concerns about intergenerational inequality, and whether the market system is the best way to drive forward excellence in our higher education institutions. Liberal Democrats have long opposed tuition fees for these and other reasons, including of course the additional concern that fees are a barrier to access into higher education.

But the one criticism that cannot be levelled at the government’s proposals is that it will make university unaffordable for future students. The system of financing for the teaching of higher education which …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 16 Comments

Opinion: Ready for the challenge with energy, enthusiasm and passion

I have now been a political activist for quite a long time! Starting with campaigning for a Palestinian state and against apartheid in my teens, joining the party as a Liberal student, and then elected to Parliament in 1983 when Mrs Thatcher was at the height of her powers. Twenty seven years later, I have never forgotten what I came into politics to do. Fight for social justice, civil liberties, internationalism and a fair and responsible Britain where power is handed back to and not taken from the people.

For many people in our country these are not characteristics which …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 34 Comments

Leadership Platform 7: A message from Simon Hughes…

Dear Friend,

As I’m sure you know this is the last week of the Liberal Democrat leadership contest. For your vote to count it needs arrive by first post on Saturday. So if you haven’t already voted I urge you to do so now.

We are fortunate to have two excellent candidates to be leader. I would be delighted work with either of them. And I believe this contest has been an excellent showcase for our party.

However my vote in this election has gone to Nick Clegg. I believe he has that ‘X factor’ that means he can reach out to those …

Posted in Leadership Election and Op-eds | 27 Comments

Recent Comments

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    @Paul Reynolds In the list of abbreviations, it gives 'dir' as director and 'cons' as consultant/consultancy. Does that fit? Myself I think it's easier to gi...
  • Mary Fulton
    The police forces should certainly apologise for actions against the LGTB+ community in England and Wales since 1967 (and since 1980 in Scotland and 1982 in Nor...
  • Alex Macfie
    Remember that ordinary voters are typically not partisan ideologues. In the Kennedy years we were able to appeal to younger voters with a radical agenda but wit...
  • Robin Stafford
    For those interested in health and the NHS, Roy Lilley's blog is worth a look. A strong supporter of the NHS thought not uncritical. https://myemail-api.cons...
  • Peter Martin
    @ Simon R, Yes well done! :-) It was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek comment. I usually have difficulty in persuading contributors to this site to think in ter...